Child Learning Center receives state’s highest designation

Child Learning CenterDecember 22, 2014

Harper College's Child Learning Center has received the Gold Circle of Quality designation from ExceleRate Illinois, the state's new quality rating and improvement system for early learning and development providers.

"Every early learning and development provider who participates in ExceleRate Illinois makes quality a priority," said Theresa Hawley, executive director of the Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development. "The higher the designation, the higher the program's demonstrated quality and comprehensiveness in meeting children's early learning needs."

Gold Circle programs have met the highest quality standards in three areas: learning environment and teaching quality; administrative standards; and staff training and education. Programs are actively engaged in continuous quality improvement. There are also Silver, Bronze and Licensed Circle designations.

For more than 30 years, Harper's Child Learning Center has provided a warm, nurturing environment in which children feel secure and can learn and grow. The center also serves as a model of teaching methodology for Harper's early childhood education students. It offers half- and full-day programs for children ages 3 to 5.

ExceleRate Illinois helps families make more informed choices about their children's early learning by establishing standards to help infants, toddlers and preschoolers develop intellectually, physically, socially and emotionally. It also provides a framework for early learning and development professionals to identify opportunities to enhance their knowledge and skills.

"We are proud to receive the Gold Circle of Quality," Harper College Child Learning Center Supervisor Irena Bakalus said. "Providing quality in early learning and development will help our children in Palatine be better prepared for success in school and in life."

ExceleRate Illinois currently includes Licensed Child Care Centers, Preschool for All and Center-Based Prevention Initiative Programs, Head Start and Early Head Start Programs. Licensed Family and Group Child Care Homes will be included next year. It is administered through INCCRRA (Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies) under the joint direction of the Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development, the Illinois Department of Human Services and the Illinois State Board of Education.

For more information or to find a program, visit

Press contact: Kim Pohl, Media Relations Manager, 847.925.6159